Winter Dinner Party Dessert (for larger crowd)
Having dinner party for 12; serving cioppino and thinking of wine poached pears with marscapone (michael chiarello) for dessert. Any suggestions for a make ahead favorite for winter time?
Tiramisu may be nice.
Once for a large dinner party I made a couple of Tarts. One was a Poached pear tart. I Made the pears, and prepped them and the pastry the day before. I just rolled and assembled it fairly quickly (I'm fairly good with pastry dough) and put it into the oven. You could bake the dough a bit, add the pears, half bake it, and then finish when you need dessert.
variation on winter fruit - baked apples (core, add butter that has incorporated brown sugar, dried cranberries, a touch of cinnamon), in pan with enough cider to wet the bottom, top with a splash of maple syrup, serve with a dollop of creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream - winter comfort food at it's finest.
I made the Almond Dacquoise from Bottega Favorita for my New Year's Day party. It can be made in stages and frozen until you slice it. I've never had so many compliments. It's a lot of work, but well worth it. I will definitely make it again. Good luck!
Winter is a good time for a kale salad. There are dozens of recipes out there; I tried this one recently and it was good:
Kale and Brown Rice Salad with Cranberries and Pecans
You could use white rice, barley, quinoa...so many other grains here. The important thing is that it's had a chance to cool down a little bit so the grains can separate. If you can't cook it ahead of time and chill it, just spread it out in a very shallow layer, drizzle a little bit of olive oil over it, and stir it occasionally to release the steam.
4 cups cooked grain (I used farro as I'm on a kick)
1 large bunch curly green kale, de-stemmed, washed, dried, and coarsely chopped
1/2 c. toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
2 Tb. honey
salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves
4 Tb. apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. olive oil
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 c. dried cranberries
Combine honey, salt and pepper, garlic, vinegar, and olive oil with an immersion blender. (Or with a whisk if you use a garlic press.) Add more of anything to taste. Drop the sliced onions and dried cranberries into the dressing to marinate.
To assemble salad:
In a large bowl, combine rice, kale, and dressing. I use my hands. Make sure everything is covered with the vinaigrette. That's what makes this salad. Scatter the toasted pecans over the top and maybe a little more coarse salt and pepper.
This is the perfect time for a pavlova. The meringue can be somewhat ahead of time and then filled right before service with a variety of winter fruit. Fill them with persimmon cream, clementines and kiwis and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds.
Apple crisp with vanilla or a rum-based ice cream. Easy to make a big batch ahead, then just heat up. I like the recipe in Julia Child's "The Way to Cook."